Shift builds social businesses to solve social problems. At the heart of these businesses are consumer products designed to drive positive behaviour change, influence social and cultural norms and help prevent complex, expensive problems developing. We apply our research, design and venture building process to issues like mental illness, poor diets, social isolation and energy inefficiency.

Shift is a Charitable Foundation (1134546) and Trust, which builds new social businesses such as Historypin (05241856) and BfB Labs (09700274). Shift has a US registered 501c3 non-profit.

Our approach

We design consumer products and build social ventures that aim to provide three strands of value: social value, user value and commercial value.

Social value

The measurable and sustainable impact of the product against its intended outcomes.

User value

The ability of the product to meet user needs and drive demand amongst target audiences.

Commercial value

The potential for the business to generate scalable, sustainable revenue.

Through our ongoing partnership with the Nominet Trust, we have continued to refine and codify this approach and share it through a series of blogs, including:

The question that tech-for-good teams & their funders should be obsessed about – Shift blog

The 3 strands of value vital to social tech ventures – Shift blog

Making social startups for attractive to seed funders – Nominet Trust blog

5 essential pre-build activities for social tech teams – Nominet Trust blog

Can consumer products design really drive systemic social change – Huffington Post

Why social entrepreneurs need to be better than their commercial counterparts – Huffington Post

Designing for behaviour change – series of RSA blogs

Our process

Our research and development process has evolved gradually, learning from each design cycle we’ve delivered as a team and from the input and experience of our partners and investors. This provides structure to the creative process and takes us through all the stages of product design– from identifying areas of focus right through to the foundation of independent social ventures.

Our products

We have launched a series of consumer products and are working on several strands of research and development. Read more about our products.

Our team

Starting as a small project in east London in 2004, we now have experienced teams based in London, Sofia and San Francisco. Our core team has expertise in research, product and service design, technical development, branding, comms, commercial strategy and evaluation. It is complemented by consultants and external partners who bring expertise in specific areas and give us wider reach. Read more about our team.

Our partners

Our process is highly collaborative and we work closely with partners at each stage of product design and venture incubation. This has included investment partners such as Nominet Trust and Nesta, development partners like Playlab London and Google, and research and evaluation partners such as Stanford University and The Billericay School.

Ways of working with us

Get involved with one of our existing products and ventures

We regularly collaborate with partners that bring new experience and expertise to specific phases of design and incubation of our products. See our portfolio.

Partner with us to build a new social business

We work closely with partners to design new consumer products and develop social ventures from scratch. These relationships are built on strong shared commitments to delivering a measurable, long-term impact on specific social problems.

Learn more about our approach to behaviour change, product design and venture building
We regularly deliver talks and run workshops that open up our approach to interested audiences. Read about the team that can deliver these.